The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 48… The Tower

Esme watched Tobias until his form had disappeared from view. She thought for a few moments then decided to follow. She would speak to him, ask him why he was here and not in London.

In The Gwyllt there are days and nights when the mild Atlantic winds take on a humidity borne only of the tropics, they can deceive and disrupt human thought, and such was now, for Esme began to feel she was in her own cloying dream. Is this a dream… I always remember my dreams, she thought. She stopped walking for a moment closing her eyes tight shut, then opened them. Everything was the same, nothing had changed. The house and tower were still in view. She continued walking towards the turret.

Her feet found the first steps leading up a steep stone spiral stairway reaching into the gloom beyond. Yes, she would follow him. She was brave enough. She wanted to look for Tobias Westlake.

She had no torch and found her way by touching the curving wall with one hand and balancing a foot against the next step. It was slow going and more than once she nearly lost her footing. A tumble now was sure to be fatal. She reckoned she had been climbing for around fifteen minutes when she touched a large wooden door blocking her way. Should she open it and go in. Could she even do it! Thoughts raced in her head. Fear seemed to have left her side for the moment.

Toby must have come this way and he must be beyond the door. She was weak from the climb. Perhaps she could not push the door open, maybe, it was locked from the inside?She felt for a key. There was none. She pushed the door a little and it began to give. Then with little effort she moved it wider. Bright yellow light streamed from the opening and the thought of the unexpected ran in her mind. Slowly, she pushed the door back and stepped forward. At first, she could see nothing, make out nothing. The room seemed to be filled with a strong yellow light coming from a large oil lamp sat on a table in the centre.

Her eyes slowly adjusted and she looked upon the seated figure of Tobias Westlake…

About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960's, first published writings in 1974
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